Poem of the Week: “… a spell to bless the silence.”

John Montague’s most recent volume, Speech Lessons, is full of lyrical poems about childhood, memory, and family. Our selection for today stands out from this subject matter as a poem about poetry itself.


for Elizabeth

Poetry is a weapon, and should be used,
though not in the crudity of violence.
It is a prayer before an unknown altar,
a spell to bless the silence.

There is a music beyond all this,
beyond all forms of grievance,
where anger lays its muzzle down
into the lap of silence.

Or some butterfly script,
fathomed only by the other,
as supple fingers draw
a silent message from the tangible.

John Montague, from Speech Lessons (2012)

About wfupress

Wake Forest University Press was founded in 1976 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Exclusively publishing Irish poetry, we are a small academic press and the premier publisher of Irish poetry in North America. We still reside in Winston-Salem as a part of Wake Forest University, and continue to publish culturally-rich literature.
This entry was posted in Irish Poetry, John Montague, Poem of the Week. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Poem of the Week: “… a spell to bless the silence.”

  1. I miss a great many aspects of our life in Ballydehob, West Cork. I now realize I also miss John’s mischievous smile.

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